28 - To Inspect or Not to Inspect?


One of the inclusions of building an investment property with Open Wealth Corporation is a travel “allowance”, of sorts, funded from the development management fee paid at the beginning of the process. The question facing us now is whether we take advantage of those funds and see the property and the house for the first time with our own eyes.

Open Wealth offered us the opportunity to fly to Queensland from WA to inspect the area when we were considering a purchase and again at land settlement. With construction now complete, and no tenant in the house as yet, we recently received a final offer to have a look. In our case, we’ll be reimbursed $400 for costs to get to Brisbane and back, which is money that will otherwise go back to Open Wealth. As a return flight to Brisbane from Perth costs $538 at a minimum, we’ve been asking ourselves whether we spend the extra money and inspect the build or not.

Were it not for the money (and possibly the time), the question would be a silly one and the answer would be “of course! We’ve just built a new house so why wouldn’t we want to see it?!?”

The obvious response is to remain emotionally detached from what is a purely financial investment. We have no plans of ever living in Queensland or in this property and as long as it can be successfully rented to fund the cost of holding the true asset—the land—we shouldn’t care if the front door is pink or what the view out the front window looks like. We don’t actually need to see it in person.

The practical man inside of me, however, has a slightly different opinion on such things. Including our family home, this is the second house we’ve now had constructed by a project builder. From experience with our first build, we know some things will have been overlooked and some things will have been delivered to an unacceptably low standard. These defects, if not addressed during the builder’s warranty period, have the potential to translate into a significant cost to us in the future.

I’ve previously noted Open Wealth conduct a number of inspections throughout the build and the first and second practical completion inspections have already occurred. A small number of defects were logged and the builder addressed those defects promptly. The defect list seemed well-considered and detailed. To that end, my visit is likely redundant but for the $200 and a day out I’d rather be certain—I don’t have laser vision but it’s pretty close and I’m a stickler for details.

I’d also like to photograph the house inside out before tenants move in. Open Wealth will again be providing us with professional photographs of the completed house and the property manager will take dozens of photographs for the baseline property inspection report before the first tenant moves in. Like I said, stickler for details.

Beyond the basic house inspection, Open Wealth will supply me with a driver for the day and suggested I have a look around the local area. I’ve never been to Brisbane before and, if we opt to build again, having a better (albeit very quick) feel for the city and state will be helpful. I’ll also be meeting the builder’s site manager and one of the property managers from Century 21 and it will be great to have that personal contact.

As we’ve got two young kids at home it’s going to be a quick one: fly over in the morning and fly home that night. I’m hopeful it will be worthwhile.

I suppose a disclaimer is also worth posting: I'm just a guy, I'm not an accountant, lawyer, solicitor, tax agent, mortgage broker, banker, financial adviser, insurance agent, land developer, builder, government agent, or anything else so I disclaim your application of anything I write here is to be applied at your own risk. What I write may be incorrect and you are best to seek your own professional advice (tax, legal, financial, and otherwise) before entering into contracts or spending your money. Your situation is unique to you and what I write here reflects my experience only. This content is not professional advice and is not tailored to your situation. I'm learning too and expect to make many, many mistakes along the way.



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